Goldman: Lou Lamoriello is holding the Islanders back. Is there a better way forward?

From a team’s perspective, being complacent after losing in Round 1 isn’t the best path forward, except if it’s a young group that can develop more. However, the New York Islanders are not a young group. Instead, the management committed to a roster that is not strong enough. The roster spent the summer locked into contracts, which is risky for a team that recently stumbled through a 2-4-4 stretch over their last 10 games. The playoff window remains open, but there is a pressing need to address concerns about the team’s direction over the last few years.

The problem is rooted in the leadership of general manager Lou Lamoriello. While the reputation of Lamoriello brought some credibility to the Islanders when he joined in 2018, his actual ability to shape the team has come into question. Although he made some good signings over the years, resulting in two Eastern Conference final appearances, more recently, the team’s chances seem to be dwindling on Long Island.

There is still hope for the Islanders to turn their season around. With about 80% of the season remaining, they can still salvage their chances, especially when considering that other Eastern Conference teams don’t have a significant lead in the standings. However, the Islanders have to be proactive and potentially make strategic changes in the remaining season.

If the Islanders do decide to make changes, they will need to evaluate whether a new coach or additional assistant coaches will be enough to overcome the odds. However, the challenges go beyond coaching, as the team has to work with a roster that has been affected by some questionable decisions made by Lamoriello. These include over-investing in gritty depth players, committing to long-term deals, and overspending.

In essence, the Islanders face a challenging season, and the leadership must make strategic decisions to improve the team’s trajectory. Any incoming coach will need to work with the limitations resulting from previous decisions while striving to take the team in a new direction.


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